06 April, 2005

Barnes and Noble needs to get its act together

Forgive this puerile outburst of frustration, but how many years have they been online, and their search feature is still incompetent?

Think I'm kidding? Look at these results:

A search with "Pope John Paul biography" as the "title keywords" gives not one single biography. This, despite the fact that B&N created the link on their homepage. (Active at 10.45am Wed 6 Apr 2005)

A search with "Revenge of the Sith" as the "title keywords" gives only one result: a novel called Sarlakk. Try "Revenge of the Sith" as the "title" and you'll get only slightly more entertainment: Realms of Darkness: a Return to Site 184, and a book on Columbian drug trafficking.

What the—?!? No wonder Amazon is beating them mercilessly (judging by how Amazon pops up on the web so regularly). Note that Amazon's search facility is half-competent, although it's not so competent that I can provide a link. You'll have to visit their site and do a title search yourself.

Thank you for your patience. We now return you to your regularly scheduled Cantànima.


jack perry said...

UPDATE: I wrote a somewhat less ill-tempered email to Barnes & Noble, and this was their reply:

Thank you for your email comments regarding our search engine.

We appreciate that you have taken the time to write to us. We consider
customer feedback critical to the success of our business, and we will
pass along your comments to the appropriate personnel.

We drew the same results while searching for the title "Return of the
Sith", which we assume is not in our database.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.

Your business is important to us. Please visit us soon at www.bn.com.

It's curious that they didn't mention the incredibly embarassing situation they're in, that the link to "papal biographies" on their homepage doesn't turn up a single biography when you click on it. You have to get to the second page to reach result #17, which is Weigel's biography.

Deep down, I know I shouldn't be so steamed about this, but several years of pent-up annoyance came out today :-)

jack perry said...

Oh — I forgot. "Return of the Sith" is in fact in their database; you just have to search for the title "Star Wars" to find it. That's not entirely illogical, but it is rather dumb.

jack perry said...

Noooo! I will never turn to the Dark Side!